Benefits brokers know that employers offer a wide variety of paid time off packages. Some still operate a traditional system that includes separate banks for vacation, sick and personal leave. But many have migrated to a more modern PTO benefit, where all leave is included in one “pot” that employees can use for any approved reason.
However employers distribute PTO, it is imperative that they track it accurately. Here’s why.
How PTO Tracking Benefits the Organization
There are a number of benefits to tracking and monitoring employees’ PTO. Namely:
- It helps to establish clear guidelines around PTO usage.
- It allows organizations to plan PTO around busy seasons.
- It helps to encourage employees to use their PTO efficiently.
In some companies, employees may not understand their employers’ rules for using PTO. And too often, there may not be formal rules in place at all. For instance, are employees required to give notice before taking a day off? Must they obtain approval? And if so, should that approval be in writing, or is a verbal “OK” acceptable? Are there different rules for illnesses and emergencies?
When developing a PTO policy, it is essential for businesses to consider the consequences for both the employer and employee. A generous leave package with no restrictions may seem like a great deal for employees, but if that leaves the company suffering, that will eventually trickle down to the workers.
For example, a supervisor might reasonably deny a PTO request if it comes during the company’s busiest season. If the supervisor were to grant that request, it could put a strain on the company’s ability to accomplish its goals, and it would put an unfair burden on the other workers.
PTO tracking alleviates these problems by putting a formal system in place to request, document, approve and monitor PTO. Employers can and should write up clear guidelines and make those evident in the PTO tracking system.
Here’s a simplified example:
Notice how the PTO Request Form asks all the necessary questions to ensure that the employee is following the PTO policy and that the supervisor is checking the request against the policy before approving it. The supervisor doesn’t have to ask any uncomfortable questions, and both employee and employer are protected.
Manual, Payroll, or Web-Based PTO Tracking Tool
While any form of PTO tracking is preferable to not tracking, we believe that using an automatic, electronic tool provides a lot of benefits. Companies can choose to do this through their payroll system. Or if that is not possible, they can use a web-based HR tool like HRconnection.
First, electronic tracking creates an easy to find a record of past PTO requests and current accrual amounts. This makes it easy for employers to monitor their employees’ PTO usage to ensure that it complies with company policy.
Employers can also periodically check in on each employee’s bank of accrued PTO to ensure that it’s being used efficiently. For instance, if it’s getting close to an employee’s anniversary and that employee still has ten unused days of PTO, his or her supervisor might want to send a reminder that 5 of those days will be forfeited soon, and that the company encourages employees to take vacations from work.
In addition, web-based systems offer a uniform requisition process, eliminating the need for supervisors to question employees about PTO. If the employee is asking for PTO with very little notice, the supervisor doesn’t have to ask if there is an emergency reason, because that information will already be on the form.
If the company uses HRconnection, they will also have their PTO policy clearly outlined and available in the system. It is easy to access, and available to all employees at any time. That way, there is never any question as to what is or is not allowed.
How Can Insurance Brokers Help?
We’ve been talking a lot about what employers and employees should do to improve their PTO tracking efforts. But what about you, the benefits insurance broker?
Part of your job is to help your employer clients with their HR needs. Now that you understand how important it is for employers to engage in PTO tracking, you can encourage them to take advantage of this feature in HRconnection.
You already know that HRconnection increases your stock with clients. All of the value-added services that you can offer, on top of negotiating great prices on benefits insurance, certainly help to cement your reputation as an indispensable partner. Now you can show them that you have even more to offer.
So talk to your clients about PTO tracking today. You’ll be glad you did!